Medieval maps mark unchartered territory with mythical creatures: here be dragons. Mapping unchartered sonic landscapes is Hear Be Dragons, a community-based education and creative arts initiative pioneered by Kyla-Rose Smith, formerly the violinist of Freshlyground, and dancer/choreographer Hannah Loewenthal.
Hear Be Dragons gives its young participants the tools and language to capture and document the unexplored territory of sound, while equipping them with a basic understanding of sound recording and editing technology. The sound compositions and audio documentaries they create prompt both the makers and an audience to consider the way sound influences our sense of place, time, memory and identity.
Over the course of 2015, the project brought together two groups of aspiring young musicians, producers, poets, actors and dancers from the township of Nyanga, Cape Town and the neighbourhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Via Whatsapp and Facebook they shared the stories of their communities with each other through sound recordings. In 2016, these sound pieces were performed at National Sawdust in New York City.
Here, we eavesdrop on an intercontinental conversation (New York – Cape Town) between Kyla-Rose and Hannah as they discuss sound, place and what’s next for Hear Be Dragons.
Photographs by Kevin Bay
Sound design by Produce Sound